Plan to re-open Old White Bear in Hampstead given green light as owner pledges ‘community hub’
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
A plan to resurrect the Old White Bear pub in Hampstead by sharing its upper floors with a school has been given the go-ahead.
Owner and Hampstead resident Dan Brod said he is “delighted” the 300-year-old drinking hole will serve the area for the first time since February 2014, praising campaigners who fought to save it.
He added: “We will be doing our best to accommodate even the smallest of concerns raised, as we now move to get this much-loved local institution open again.”
Only one resident objected to the scheme, citing worries about increased traffic around New End Square, but Camden Council said no additional congestion is expected.
The operators of the pub hope to have it open again by early 2018.
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According to the plan, the Well Road pub will share the top floors with Hampstead Preparatory School while the vacant site’s ground floor is extensively refurbished.
The school will use the site between 8am and 6pm only, accessing the upper floors through a separate entrance, and in the evening the pub will have full control.
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The planning application explained: “This sub-let in the short and medium period will help to generate a regular income to help contribute to the refurbishment of the pub and help secure its ongoing long-term viability.”
It added that the school “urgently require[s] additional accommodation” near to its middle school site in New End.
Mr Brod, whose pub operator firm Bramley Bard UK Limited owns award-winning watering holes in the South West of England, told the Ham&High that the White Bear is “very personal” to him.
He said: “It is where as children my brother and I would get rewarded with a cold lemonade after a Sunday afternoon walk on the Heath. Then later as a teenager, when the observed rules were somewhat different, one of the haunts we frequented, sometimes (possibly) with teachers.”
He added: “I reminisce for the Hampstead I remember as a child which was more of a mixed community than it is now. Most of Hampstead’s pubs have disappeared, as have many of the independent shops, and I truly believe that it is pubs that can help keep Hampstead a real village.”
“In an increasingly secular and techno-centric digital world, people somehow seem to me less community focussed then ever and I want this pub to be a genuine hub of its community helping bring back the more wholesome Hampstead I remember.”